The green economy needs Minnesota mining – by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (Minneapolis Star Tribune – August 9, 2017)

Rick Nolan, a Democrat, represents Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House.

Counterpoint: Copper and nickel play a role in today’s climate fight, so why not mine them safely right here? That’s what my land exchange is about.

Mining copper and nickel on Minnesota’s Iron Range and addressing global climate change are compatible, complementary and essential to our way of life. We have the brains, the technology and the need to do both.

If we attempt to do one without the other, we will end up with neither (“PolyMet is just feeding Minnesotans a line on proposed mine,” July 21). The survival of humankind rests on our willingness to embrace all of the knowledge and resources at our disposal to reverse climate change — including the vast deposits of strategic minerals in northeastern Minnesota. We owe future generations no less.

In fact, there would be no viable green economy and no effective means to reverse climate change without mining. Consider the rapid development and deployment of electric and hybrid vehicles. The Iron Range already plays an important role in the production of the hundreds of pounds of high-strength steel required for every vehicle.

Furthermore, every new electric car contains, on average, 165 pounds of copper, 9 pounds of nickel and 240 pounds of nickel-based aluminum. And every energy-efficient hybrid car requires about 110 pounds of copper.

Every new wind turbine generating electricity to recharge these vehicles contains, on average, nearly 200 tons of steel per megawatt and approximately 4 tons of copper. And keep in mind that America has one of the fastest-growing markets for wind power in the world. About 30 percent of all global wind-based electricity is generated right here in the U.S.A.

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